by Asha Loon
The first chapter of a gargoyle themed novel I desire to publish one day.
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His loud piercing screams broke a clearing through the fog, just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. Their spells made a seal against the outside world, to make the location seem invisible; no human could ever hear the screams of agony that occurred here. The trees of the forest were blushed with shades of red, orange and pale yellows, while a cool breeze caused the tree limbs to rustle and whistle. The furred and winged inhabitants shuddered in their homes, fearful they would be next.
The ceremony had not lasted as long as Aldric had anticipated. He had expected a more dramatic approach to the rituals taking place, rather than the straightforward. To drink the life essence of one of their own members made Aldric want to turn and run, but he knew if he did that, he would soon join the badly beaten body in the center of the circle. Since he was the newest member, he had the option of just watching, rather than ingesting the blood. Luckily, the victim was not a friend of his.
Kegan, for sheer amusement, had hired an orchestral quartet to delight the viewers' ears, as if to dilute the scene of bloody terror into a merry event. Though mentally unstable at times, the silver captain was respected by all who followed him. Their Elder had seen something within Kegan, something that not anyone else could see, possibly something no one else wanted to see. Behind his violet-gray eyes, and masked behind his tall and lean physique, hid wisdom that he had stolen from all the previous ancients of the society, otherwise known as the Wing. He welcomed any who would challenge his authority. And with rituals such as these, he always made sure to remind the others who their next possible leader was.
Their Wing consisted of twelve gargoyles in total for the area of Brooklyn, New York. Besides their temporary "summer home", other wings populated various locations around the globe, to remain discreet. For that reason, female breeders were highly sought after, and often forced to slavery, to spend their remaining days alive as sex slaves. This particular wing did not have a female, so it was dying out. Since the fall season had arrived, they were soon due to return to their other home in Delaware, to avoid the ever-growing population of their enemies.
Aldric and Kegan were the youngest of their kind, a new breed, unlike the others. In contrast to the gray and horrific features of the gargoyles, the two of them appeared more human-like. Their skin, while standing in direct light, had a strikingly beautiful alabaster glow; it made gothic children weep with jealousy. While the majority of the wing's members had coarse gray hair, Aldric's was coal black that hung long, shiny, and thick between his two massive wings and muscular shoulder blades. Kegan's hair was a long, straight mass of beautifully spun silver blonde. Though considered ugly by their brothers, this made it easier for negotiations to be made with real, absentminded humans and other businesses to keep them well hidden. They were a dying breed, and needed to protect themselves.
Kegan stepped forward and took hold of the victim's neck, pulling his face towards his own. His eyes seemed to bulge from their sockets, insanity creeping from its hidden dwellings, while the veins in his temples and neck protruded to inhuman proportions. His voice came out with haste while his arms and body shook slightly, making it obvious how difficult it was to hold back his anger. The trees and wind even seemed to fear him, and a troubling silence flooded the forest. Aldric's urge to flee grew more intense, but his body lost the ability to move when Kegan began to speak.
"Serge, I am disgusted with your betrayal. After this hour, I shall not refer to you as my brother ever again," Kegan's eyes flickered. "I would have never expected this from such a high ranking member. You have saved my life, many times. Now don't you wish you had not? I have no regrets of what I have done to you."
Serge's gray hair hung over his severely damaged face. He opened his mouth to speak, but only a long gurgling sound rolled out with a flow of bloody vomit due to internal damage. Kegan dropped him to the ground as a few drops flew upon his beautiful alabaster skin and long silver blonde hair. He wiped the droplets away, as if the blood were diseased. Serge weakly raised his hand, asking for forgiveness. Kegan turned to the stone altar and carefully wrapped a white cloth around a silver dagger, making sure not to touch it with his own flesh. It appeared very old, and was crusted with blood from other examples of betrayal. Serge began painfully inching away from his doom, leaving a blood trail behind him.
"Restrain him," Kegan ordered with a snarl, "Silence these pitiful screams.... It is time." Nobody dared move as he looked round, searching for volunteers. Many black and beady eyes gazed at one another in a helpless and begging manner.
Fulbert, Aldric's only friend, hobbled forward and nudged Aldric's shoulder, his footsteps thumping hard against the cool morning earth.
"Come on", Fulbert hissed softly.
Delight seemed to brighten Kegan's eyes as he turned to recognize the volunteers.
"Ahh yes, thank-you Fulbert and Aldric. What better way to prove your loyalty? Please, come forth and assist me. Show these cowards how it should be done."
Aldric's body froze, and his breathing ceased. He had no intention of joining in, let alone assisting in the death of Serge. What could he do now? If he turned down Kegan, he would be made a fool of and possibly killed. If only he had stayed home to baby that bottle of wine...
Fulbert turned and repeated himself, "Al?"
Without thinking more about it, he walked towards the bleeding body before him. Serge's wings had been ripped from the root and his blood was drenching the ground; Aldric took great care to avoid stepping in the warm and coagulating liquid.
If we were to leave him in this state, he would surely die anyway, Aldric thought to himself.
Serge let out a horrible scream as Fulbert's small build jerked him up to his feet, as if his 6'4" body weighed nothing. Aldric grabbed Serge's right side and stood firm, making sure not to make eye contact with him, or anyone around him. He could not afford to develop sympathy at the last minute.
"Keep this filth immobile. I want to watch every ounce of life drain from his eyes and onto Satan's doorstep," Kegan smiled cheerily as he slowly walked towards him. The dagger was now shimmering in the sun's morning rays, and a silver cup accompanied it.
Kegan's hair seemed on fire in the sunlight blazing through the trees above as he tilted Serge's head back to expose his neck. Without wasting another second, the dagger very swiftly made a perfect slice. Blood gushed from it's hidden well within Serge. It was not all red, however. Colors of black, silver, dark hues of blue and purple poured out as well. The silver cup filled quickly and began dripping to the leaves below. An unexpected ruckus erupted through the calm air: the sparrows, ravens, and scavenger faeries began mourning aloud for the wasted life, as well as food.
Serge gargled and turned his head to look at Aldric. The winged giant tried looking away but was having difficulty doing so, like he was the puppet and Serge was the puppeteer. He watched the light in Serge's eyes diminish as he fell limp in their arms.
The massive veins in Kegan's neck and temples finally diminished to a normal state, but that strange grin stayed fixed on his face. It made the hairs on Aldric's wings and back stand on end. There was something wrong about it, something that made Aldric's stomach turn.
"Gentlemen, come receive your reward."
Fulbert and Aldric placed Serge softly to the earth, the only compassion he had received throughout the entire morning. He now appeared to be more like a statue than a living thing, completely drained. They walked to Kegan, who held out the cup to whomever wanted it first, but still had his eyes transfixed upon the corpse. Fulbert broke Kegan's gaze and took the cup from him and began hungrily lapping up the blood with his tongue, since drinking from a cup with a beak was difficult. Aldric watched horrified, as his friend's body twitched involuntarily and his eyes flooded with ebony. After Fulbert took his fill, he bowed his head in thanks and took his place in the circle, seeming taller and larger than before.
"Aldric, I am very pleased to see that you are going to be a willing participant in the disciplining aspect of the rituals. Not many would have the gull to do so. Now you have the option of having your reward," Kegan stated, "It is your choice."
Aldric felt all the members’ eyes upon him; his lungs began constricting while his throat became parched. He knew that what Kegan had said was a test. He reached and took the cup from Kegan's hands. He pressed his lips to the heavy cup and let Serge's life pour into him. His leader's eyes drew in the initiation.
The blood tasted sweet on Aldric's tongue, making his taste buds dance and his own blood smolder. He held the liquid momentarily, his tongue memorizing the taste. In one gulp, he swallowed. He could feel his muscles tighten, growing painlessly, and his eyesight grew keener. The world around him looked different now, everything had a golden aura with tracers while the trees, and wind, sung loudly in a deafening tone. He witnessed the dark creatures of the forgotten world watching from behind the trees and amidst the branches. They glared with fire in their eyes, waiting for the group to leave their territory. He handed the cup back to Kegan and saw a rather large being leap stealthily from treetop to treetop, growling.
"Thank you," he whispered as he bowed his head to the leader.
Kegan looked deeply into Aldric's eyes, almost searching for his soul, "No, thank-you Aldric... and welcome."
An even wider smile broke Kegan's face as he watched Aldric return to the circle. With one gulp, he finished off the glass. He too shut his eyes as his body went through spasmodic tremors and orgasmic pleasure. He returned the glass and dagger to the altar, then heading back to the black limousine, announced, "Come, we have a long drive ahead of us. Godwine is waiting in Delaware. Leave the body, the halfings and fae will love the taste of his flesh. Let him be devoured!!! DEVOURED!!!"
The circle broke and dutifully followed their leader, whose laughter echoed throughout the forest like a bomb had gone off.
Aldric took one glance back at what used to be Serge. He was now being engulfed with the dark creatures, the sound of flesh and clothing being ripped with force.